Call it your tribe, your gang, or your squad. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places the need for love and belonging at number three. Once we have secured our physiological needs and physical safety, we seek out a place and people who can supply us with love and sense of belonging. We’re social creatures, and we crave those relationships. Everyone needs a safe place to land, and people to lean on when there are bad things happening.
Finding Like-Minded People
The criteria for like-minded people is different for everyone. For me, people who enjoy exercise, like to talk about healthy foods, are artistically inclined, enjoy reading, and strive to be positive and kind are the ones I want in my “squad.” If they also happen to like discussing the intricacies of the French language and the dramatics of Greek mythology, then even better. For you, like-minded people might be involved at your church, interested in sports, or avid supporters of a particular political party.
It takes thought and action to form a group of people in your life that you can rely on no matter what. You have to actively seek them out. The key to surrounding yourself with like-minded people is knowing what kind of people make you feel most secure, inspired, and confident. The people who fill your life with joy and push you to be the best person you can be are the ones you should count in this group.
1. Quick & Dirty Benefits:
When you have a network of people (coworkers, family, friends, mentors, etc.) who you feel a true connection and understanding with, you’ll reap countless benefits.
- You feel safe being yourself.
- You can talk openly about your thoughts, dreams, and problems without fear of judgement or misunderstanding.
- You have people to inspire and motivate you.
This can be in your career, in your art, and even in your journey to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
2. Repercussions of not Having this Support:
Without a group of people who accept you, understand your dreams and goals, and want you to succeed in life, you deal with a litany of issues — issues you may not even notice if you’re accustomed to the negative dynamic.
- You can feel alienated from your family and friends, and insecure about who you truly are.
- You have a higher chance of being discouraged in pursuing your dreams and sticking to your goals. This is particularly true if you’re trying to make healthy changes to your lifestyle. When your close family and friends aren’t supportive of the positive changes you make in your life, it can be hard to stick to your guns.
- You can develop an unhealthy expectation of what relationships of all kinds are supposed to be like.
3. The Right Support Group will Change Your Career
Like-minded people will see how important your hobbies, passions, and side hustles are to you. They will check in on your progress, and push you to overcome the moments you’re discouraged. If it weren’t for my close friends and my parents, I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue writing as a career, or to work on my novel in my spare hours.
In fact, I have one particular friend who is always on my back about my writing, my blog, and my plans to design a planner. He wants me to succeed so badly that he refuses to let me put it off. At times, I want him to leave me alone, but I know how lucky I am to have a friend who cares this much.
Just think about how hard it is to do things in your career without a good support system. Imagine shifting career tracks when your crew is telling you not to do it. It’s incredibly hard to take those leaps and risks when you’re being discouraged by the people you trust the most.
4. …And Your Personal Life
You want to be able to have candid conversations with your group of people. Everyone needs people they can go to with anything without fear of judgement, scorn, or hatred. The people you surround yourself with are the ones you need to lean on when things aren’t going well, and to celebrate with you when they are. The people in your life should never make you feel the need to hide something about yourself or what you want.
It’s incredibly lonely to have those negative relationships and to hide a part of yourself from the world. I know from personal experience that friends who don’t truly see me for who I am, or want me to be someone I’m not, are not good for me. Those friendships don’t leave me feeling loved or blessed. They leave me sad and insecure. If you find the people around you make you feel bad, you need to remove them from your life or, at least, keep them at a distance, and not rely on them for true emotional support.
That’s another thing: You are allowed to remove people from your life if they don’t add joy. You don’t have to stick with a friend simply because you’ve been friends for ten years. Above all, you have to do what’s best for you. So ditch the people who make fun of your dreams, who think your hobbies are stupid, and who constantly undermine who you are as a unique and independent person. They aren’t concerned with you if they act like this, so you don’t need to be concerned with them.
Terra is an Arkansas-based writer who spends her free time obsessing over her planner, debating between working out or eating, and singing to her dog, Gatsby, even though he hates it. She also writes for Earn, Spend, Live blogs here.
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